Essay Example on Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray The novel is most important in the Victorian Era so The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is part of a wide range of many good and important novels for this period Oscar Wilde s only novel can be considered a revolutionary piece of literature not only because it broke out of the traditional value and belief pattern of the Victorian society but also because it replaced the traditional pattern with new concepts coined by Wilde and his former tutors Oscar Fingal O Flaherty Wills Wilde was an Irish writer but also a controversial one who was remarked for his natural style of writing and also for his remarkable themes He was a person interested in concepts from the aesthetic sphere putting the beauty of things on a higher level than the moral and social values Aestheticism was supported in Germany by J W von Goethe and in England by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Carlyle The origin of the word aesthetic cames from the late 18th century in the sense relating to perception by the senses from Greek aisthētikos from aisthēta perceptible things from aisthesthai perceive 




The sense concerned with beauty was coined in German in the mid 18th century and adopted into English in the early 19th century but its use was controversial until much later in the century The picture of Dorian Gray is a very interesting novel from an aesthetic point of view because is an illustration of the exterior beauty in parallel with the sins of the soul The main character Gray is a young man which is presented on the beginning of the novel like a very pure and innocent boy The novel presents the story of a boy whose face became more and more beautiful while his soul was experiencing profound sins Focusing on the idea of pleasure and beauty Wilde s main character Dorian Gray lives a life of pure pleasure free from moralizing and becomes interested only in that which is beautiful Live Live the wonderful life that is in you Let nothing be lost upon you Be always searching for new sensations Be afraid of nothing A new Hedonism that is what our century wants 63 This is the advice given to Dorian by Lord Henry one of Wilde s characters He believes that pleasure is the highest aim for human life Also as if reading directly from Critique of the Power of Judgment Lord Henry says Beauty if a form of Genius People say sometimes that Beauty is only superficial That may be so But at least it is not so superficial as Thought is To me Beauty is the wonder of wonders It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances 



The true mystery of the world is the visible not the invisible Kant 62 Wilde inspired by Kant s first movement is encouraging the idea that beauty is not something which can be experienced logically through thought It must be experienced aesthetically and to do so one must simply experience beauty through its pleasures There is a mystery in what is beautiful because it is just experienced as something which pleases It is not something which can be understood through reasoning The aforementioned section also echo s Kant s statement that Beautiful art is art of genius 186 So because Wilde has this conception about beauty and he created a character which step by step arrives to ruin himself and to ruin his life and even other s life For example when Gray s girlfriend the actress with whom he should have married interprets a piece of theater poorly from his point of view he becomes to hate her because he hates ugliness Gray ends up with her and so his life goes down but also to his beloved life because she is committing suicide After realizing his own beauty Dorian wishes that the beautiful portrait of himself would age while he remains beautiful forever 



From that point forward the portrait becomes the one to age and show physical manifestations of Dorian s sins Dorian meanwhile maintains his youth and good looks However the portrait restores the aesthetic ideal by ceasing to reflect life Dorian is killed when he stabs the painting and the portrait is restored to its original beauty In conclusion I could say that through this arguments presented in my essay it can be formed a image of how life was seen by Oscar Wilde The author remained unchanged according to his conceptions and from this point of view The picture of Dorian Gray became a mirror of his beliefs For him the notion of beauty surpasses the concept of ugliness and it is one of the main features that dictates the position of a man in society BIBLIOGRAPHY Kant Immanuel Critique of the Power of Judgement New York Cambridge University Press 2000 Wilde Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray Peterborough Norman Page 1998 Weise Jannis Rudzki Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde s the Picture of Dorian Gray Kassel University 2009 2010 https scribblingshane wordpress com 2011 02 28 aestheticism in oscar wilde E2 80 99s the picture of dorian gray Accesat 19 12 2017


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